How to Do What the Bible Says
In my article "Why Christians S**k," I encouraged--okay, antagonized--my fellow Christians to start doing what the Bible says: Feed the poor, clothe the naked, love the unlovely. That's the work of Jesus, and when we don't do it, it's fair to say that, as Christians, we s**k pretty bad.
But we can change today. How? Check out these ten simple ways to get started.
By Tom Davis, author of Red Letters and Fields of the Fatherless, and president of Children's HopeChest.
Be a Shopping Saint
Shop differently. Look for organizations that will give a portion of profits to God's kingdom. Start by checking out Saints Coffee, an organization I started that feeds an orphan for a month with each pound of coffee sold.
Become a Personal ATM
Start giving your money away automatically. Giving should be the first "bill" that you pay from your paycheck. Take advantage of "bill pay" services to make this gift automatic each month or quarter. Start at a level that makes you a little uncomfortable, and then commit to moving it up as close to 10 percent as you can.
Sell, Sell, Sell
Sell your stuff. Use eBay, craigslist, or a local consignment shop, and sell off some of the massive accumulation of stuff you've collected over the years. Then do what Jesus suggested, and give the money to the poor.
Try Being Socially Awkward
Put yourself in uncomfortable settings. God wants us to love the unlovely. That's hard, no doubt. But do it anyway. Find a local mission, a support group at your church, or another outreach opportunity where you can develop greater empathy for the poor and needy through relationship and service.
Save, Save, Save
Buy less stuff. Make a little sleeve for your credit cards. On the outside write, "33,000 children will die today. Do I really need this?" Answer this question every time you make a purchase. As you save, you'll learn a lot about your relationship to material things, and you'll become more generous with others.
Chuck Your Closet
Go through your closet and give away at least 1/3 of your clothes to a shelter or agency that needs clothing. Try it--you will be shocked at all you have that you don't need.
Adopt an Invisible Family Member
Add a member to your family when you're at the grocery store. Each week, shop as if you had one extra person in your family and then donate the food to a local food bank. Even better, help the food bank prepare and serve a meal, too.
Make It a Mission to Leave
Get out of America. The best cure for materialism is a real life experience with poor families in other countries. Find a church or short-term missions agency that will allow you to take a trip overseas to alleviate poverty and suffering.
Blog Your Change
Make others aware. Start a blog and keep an online journal of the changes you're making in your life. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Gandhi published many articles on his own journey and service to the world. Follow that lead and do the same on your blog.